Small Group Book Discussion

Book clubs are a great way to enjoy a book while also developing your skills and building camaraderie, comfort, and teamwork with coworkers.

The “Why” – Benefits of an Office Book Club

Reading with your colleagues can help you:

  • Build stronger relationships. A book club brings coworkers together in a unique way. This team-building activity provides the opportunity to create personal connections outside of typical workplace interactions. 
  • Read outside your comfort zone. When multiple people contribute to book selection, it broadens your horizons – you end up reading books that you might not have known about otherwise or may not have picked out on your own.
  •  Finish more books. When there’s a book club meeting on the calendar and your coworkers are expecting you to participate, this provides accountability, and you may be more likely to finish the book in a timely manner.
  • Get more out of your reading. Critical discussion with others helps you walk away with a better understanding of the book and how you feel about it.
  • Experience empathy. Reading stories from perspectives that may be different than your own helps strengthen your empathic muscles. 
  • Perform better at work. Yes, you read that correctly. Reading diverse literature can help you learn new concepts and new ways of doing things that you can apply to your work. Furthermore, sharing and exchanging ideas can foster out-of-the-box thinking and encourage new ways of approaching a problem. 
  •  Develop your leadership skills. Volunteering to lead a book club meeting is a great opportunity to step up and practice your skills in a leadership role.  

The “How” – Tips for Getting Startedbook discussion group image2

  • Pick short-ish books. Aim for around 300 pages or less. People are more likely to participate and finish the book if it’s a reasonable length.
  • Don’t be afraid to get real. A book club isn’t much fun if there’s nothing to discuss. Don’t shy away from selections focused on race and gender issues. It may lead to interesting and important conversations that might not have otherwise occurred at the office. 
  • Meet after reading the book in its entirety. Working your way through a book a week at a time can be more of a burden and prevent you from addressing larger themes. This also increases the feasibility of the time commitment.
  • Allow at least a month to read the book. It can take a while to actually get your hands on a book (especially if you’re trying to get it from the library), and it might not be easy for everyone to find time to set aside for reading.
  • Keep meetings to 30-45 minutes. This provides enough time to get into the book without being too big of a time commitment. Time meetings around lunch or at the end of the day to respect work obligations and increase attendance. Microsoft Teams is the perfect tool for hosting a book discussion.
  • Have a plan for the discussion. It is often helpful to nominate someone as the discussion leader. To prepare for the discussion, look up questions online ahead of time. Many authors and publishers provide discussion guides for exactly this purpose. You can start by having participants share their general reactions to the book, but it’s always good to identify a few prompts to help guide the discussion if needed.